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would you like to take a survey? January 25, 2011

Posted by therealtinlizzy in Uncategorized.

I’m a bad citizen. And a bad person generally. Wait no, specifically. I’m a good person generally.

To start – I’m very pro-census, and although the U.S. Census doesn’t seem like something to get all divisive or politically sillypants about, try telling that to Michele Bachmann. So yes – I’m very pro-census, which is why I agreed a couple years ago to participate in an ancillary survey the U.S. Census Bureau was conducting leading up to and beyond the main census. The survey was to be a study in changes-over-time to folks’ employment status, income, debt, home-ownership, etc. I was told that I would be contacted every 4 months for possibly the next few years. I was even given a $20 debit card for my troubles, which I promptly lost. So I decided that it couldn’t possibly be that onerous to participate in the study, and figured it was my citizenly duty to do so.

As it’s turned out – the survey is actually not an insubstantial pain in the ass. It takes about 1.5 hours to go through. It pretty much requires I be home for the duration of it because I prefer to not reveal the breadth and depth of of my personal financial info to anyone within earshot of my cube. It requires I be online so I can access my account balances, tax and salary info (which perhaps oddly I don’t ever just have in my head). It requires that I be in gchat with my sig during her work day because I have to answer all of the same questions for whoever else lives in the house as well.

I did pretty well the first 3 or 4 times the census lady contacted me. I blocked out the time, I kept my appointments, I completed the surveys. The past couple of times however I’ve gotten incredibly foot-draggy and irritated at the imposition, and when my initially-scheduled appointment has turned out to be not workable, I then haven’t followed up to contact her and reschedule, and pretty much blow her off. Then when I’ve gone awol from the census lady, she calls me daily and leaves me about 35 voice mails. If I still don’t respond (she has a limited window in which to submit the completed surveys each time), she starts calling my sig. Seriously hearkens me back to the Animaniacs’ Survey Ladies: “would you like to take a sur-vey? Do you like George Wendt? Do you like beans? Would you like George Wendt eating beans?!”

Now – a bit about the census lady. I’ve had the same Census rep conducting the survey since this began a couple years ago: a very sweet, kindly, grandmotherly octogenarian lady. So blowing off this sweet kind lady and causing her any sort of consternation makes me a terrible horrible human being. I know this. But I can’t seem to help it. I just groan and viscerally clench up inside when she contacts me for the next round of survey-palooza, going all pouty-child that I have to somehow make time for this. And to add insult to injury (insofar as one can feel injured by an otherwise positive good worthwhile government program) – I never even got to use the $20 they originally comp’ed me for my troubles because I misplaced the debit card. You like how I really  stubbed my own toe there ;)? Although truth be told – $20 for all the subsequent pain, anguish and agony of repeated followups isn’t really all that much compensation anyway, even if I hadn’t lost the delicious moneys (I could’ve bought a love bottle of wine (or 3!) for that!). Anyway – for all my protesting, I’m completely guilt-ridden for being such a gremlin about it every time, and yet it doesn’t seem to help me behave any better. And I know I’m going to hell for causing trouble for the nice census lady and the U.S. Census Bureau.

And with that – I’m going to run out the door to bike home in time for my 4:00 appt with the census lady, to finally complete this damn survey which I orig scheduled 3 weeks ago and have been avoiding, and which the census lady has to have completed/submitted by tomorrow.


1. paraselenic - January 25, 2011

Aaron still gets letters from the University of MN (and checks! but nothing too exciting– they’re checks for a buck or two only) made out to Ted Hughes. Aaron did a survey for them a while back and out of frustration (and general danger play) he said he was ted hughes. We also get phone calls. Love the phone calls asking for Ted Hughes to our house in North. Yah, Ted totally lives here…

therealtinlizzy - February 3, 2011

that’s totally awesome – I’m going to start addressing Aaron as Ted. when I gave once upon a time to OxFam I was forced to choose a prefix on the info-entry page, and since I didn’t want to choose Ms or Miss or Mrs, I chose Dr. Fuck you jerkfaces – I can do what I want!

2. Freddy - February 3, 2011

I thought I was the only person who remembered that Animaniacs bit! 😀

therealtinlizzy - February 3, 2011

*kindred sisters*. Srsly – didn’t figure anyone would catch that reference.

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